Archaeologists have made a remarkable discovery in Egypt's Saqqara necropolis—a collection of 13 well-preserved wooden coffins dating back 2,500 years. The coffins were found in a burial shaft, 11 meters underground, stacked on each other. Their exceptional preservation, still completely sealed after centuries, sets these coffins apart. The wood retains some original painted colours, suggesting that the coffins have remained undisturbed since burial. Additional sealed niches were found within the burial shaft, indicating the possibility of more coffins yet to be uncovered.
Saqqara, which served as the necropolis for Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt, has been an area of great archaeological interest. The site has seen high-ranking nobility and middle or working-class individuals interment. While elaborate burials of the elite are more commonly discovered, recent excavations have revealed simpler burials that shed light on the funerary practices of the middle class. The discovery of these intact coffins offers the potential for valuable insights into ancient Egyptian burial customs and could provide information about the identities and status of the individuals buried within.
The coffins, made of wood and buried in a dry environment, are unlikely to contain preserved liquids. However, the possibility of new grave goods within the coffins raises excitement among archaeologists. These artefacts have the potential to reveal not only the identities of the deceased but also provide clues about their social status. Further excavation and analysi are expected to uncover the names and backgrounds of the individuals buried in the coffins and the total number of coffins within the shaft.